Half truths and manifestos

By Raffique Shah
August 25, 2015

Raffique ShahI don’t know that the majority of people in the country are influenced in any way by the manifestos presented by various parties-in our case two, one from the UNC/PP and the other from the PNM.

In fact, I believe few people, likely less than ten percent of the electorate, read these voluminous documents. In my case, I sought the synopses of the presenters because I know they will have highlighted what they saw as the fundamentals of what they would implement if elected, and certainly their most marketable offerings.

Hopefully before polling day I get around to scanning the full manifestos for the salient points they are making. That way, I can call to account whoever wins the election and fails to implement vote-catching promises. Not that it matters to them or their core supporters: they simply ignore me, brand me an agent of the other party.

I have held that in so far as the 2015 general election goes, almost everyone who intends to vote will have long determined what party he or she will support, which is contrary to what pollster Nigel Henry has been telling us since the beginning of this year. Indeed, his 30 percent “undecided” has remained unchanged. If they continue in that vein, they will be sitting on the fence long after the polls close on September 7.

No, I think these people have decided, but they are not talking: come election day, they will quietly cast their votes and leave the pollsters and politicians to wonder where and why they went wrong in their projections.

While the manifestos won’t influence the outcome, they allow us to peer into the wiles of those who are seeking office. Many commentators and professionals have questioned the costly commitments both parties are touting, if elected, given the state of the economy. Certainly over the next year, at the very least, revenues from the energy sector will decline, maybe even drop precipitously. And while there are other streams that contribute to the coffers (taxes on companies and individuals, VAT, excise duties, import duties, etc), the harsh reality is that we remain dependent on energy products.

In 2014, for example, of $75.5 billion in export earnings, a mere $11.4 billion came from non-oil products.

So, I ask, as I did last week, where will the money come from to fund increased pensions and social services grants, tax reliefs and other goodies both parties are promising?
There are other inconsistencies in some of the wild claims or promises being made.

The Prime Minister boasts that in her five years in office, her government has “refurbished or built over 100 new health centres”. But that’s the total number of such facilities in the country listed on the Ministry of Health’s website. So, did she “build or refurbish” every health facility? Surely, that is “pigwash”. But her supporters believe it, and maybe even she does!

As for the 100 new schools constructed, maybe she would list them all so discerning citizens can determine if the PP government increased the schools-stock by 100 percent. Or the 11,000 new businesses established in the past two years (her words, not mine), I ask: really?

Even if you add every doubles and souse vendor who started selling during that period, you will hardly find more than 2,000 new businesses in the specified period. What the PM probably meant was that 11,000 companies were registered at the Ministry of Legal Affairs, which is not unusual. Only a miniscule number of these actually start operations, and even fewer survive beyond a year.

I shan’t even dwell on the “hundreds of new roads” (how many roads are there in the country?) or “thousands of new houses”, ninety percent of the latter being HDC units that were constructed under the previous government, completed by the PP, and conveniently distributed on the eve of the election. Nor will I harp on many more such units and public buildings that the PP met under construction but never touched in their five years in office.

Regarding PNM promises, I have already had my say on the proposed rapid rail. I add only this: Colm Imbert insists he can complete the system from Sangre Grande to POS and San Fernando to POS for $10 billion. I say we citizens give him $15 billion (cost overruns) and five years-go for it!

If he fails, lock him up, not behind bars, but behind rails!

And I am tickled by Keith Rowley’s proposed plywood factory at La Brea. He argues: “We don’t have wood, but we have the electricity and we have the hydrocarbon adhesives and we have Caricom neighbours that have plenty wood!”

Huh, Keithos? Don’t we all have good wood?

5 Responses to “Half truths and manifestos”


  • http://www.guardian.co.tt/business/2015-08-25/global-markets-slump-business-leader-calls-urgent-action

    Hey Ravi,quit telling us something we already know,re the ghastly state of our damaged economy!
    Sorry,but we aren’t fooled by your neo tribal ,slick attempts, to pass off our pathetic economic scenarios ,on the current state of the global realities-the results of falling oil price.
    The blame must be placed squarely at the feet of that clueless ,political neophyte,and life time drunkard-weed -head Kamla ,and fellow diabolical,unpatriotic members ,of her self serving ,PP goons.
    It is only in T&T ,a revolting ,incompetent bunch of political cretins such as these -after stinking up de joint,with over de top ,tribally driven spending /callously mortgaging our kids future- would come to the electorate ,with a straight face,and demand to be reelected for another term.
    It ain’t happening Kamla,and you can talk until all dem ,South of de Caroni,Water Buffalos ,come home!Feel free to malign,and castigate all you want,won’t make a difference.It’s one term,and back to the political wilderness, where ‘you alze,’ belong!
    Notice the trend folks.It ain’t matter where these social ,fake concerned comedians emerge from-same difference.
    Oh yes,and I am talking about the typical ,quasi educated -cyber -braying donkeys,that masquerade on dis here ,Trini Center Nation ,as learned blokes.
    Always striving to be an apologist for criminality,corruption,and morally repulsive behaviors,once it’s related to the tribe.
    You know the types ,Trini Rawoils,Tman,Mamboo, Cariboo,Swordfish,and now this character Ravi.
    Thanks ex New York Gov Patterson,for coming to T&T,and telling the historically comatose folks ,as it is-and no ,we don’t give a hoot if Obama agrees or not ,about your characterization of Kamla ,or her despicable regime.

    http://www.looptt.com/content/ex-new-york-governor-calls-partnership-most-dishonest-government

    Yes sariii,and likewise, if you are a 400 pounds ,overweight bastard,with a history of hypertensions,or diabetes,who otra vez ,had your 3 heart attacks,and on your respective visits to Dr Goopiesing ,or Fraud office ,either of these exploitative ,lying weasels,told you to go home ,take a Panadol, rub your head ,do the tassa wine/limbo dance, twice a day,and that would help,you would be more than justified, to stone them both ,along with their entire family ,with rotten eggs-and more importantly,there is nothing that our ‘Hollywood/Bollywood/Nollywood- acting Commissioner of Police,Uncle Willow,’can do about it.
    These are challenging times for our country,and so requires ,tested,and tried ,strong ,serious leadership.
    Talking about which,and just ‘where you at,’ Dr Rowley?
    We got you!Putting dem symbolic ducks in order,laying out the subtle nuances of your Manifesto.
    A word of caution,as you strive to acquire the people’s trust ,come September 7th.
    This ain’t the same La Trinity,that voted for Kamla,and her square pegs in round hole-PP brigade.
    Right now ,many are echoing the war cry of those folks in dat Hollywood movie,and least you are unaware,here it is :-“we are mad as hell,and won’t take it anymore!”
    Don’t for a moment think ,that you too would get away with dat bull crap ,as played out by by dat Eric Williams wannabe,egomaniac,nepotistic,anti poor Africans,Tobago despising, arrogant,fake Christian, Patrick Manning,once elected .
    Just like Kamla ,you too ,would be given one term and sent packing.Trust me on that.
    ‘To be forewarned,is to be forewarned,’as we like to say on the streets,hmmm?
    Hey Uncle Shah,your humor is ok,but sorry ,even you ain’t savvy enough,to pull dis off:-Sorry ,but you ‘ can’t have your cake and eat it,’too.
    Time to draw a line in the sand .
    This is what the T&T 4 estate Editors accepted,in absence of authentic debates ,which would have accorded journalists a chance ,to ask tough questions,and aid potential/undecided voters -re Kamla’s five year stewardship,as well as Dr Rowley vision.
    What can Kamla do different,than was done ,over her last term? Is Rowley a clone of Patrick Manning,or his own leader ,with authentic plans ,to elevate his Country?
    Oh yeah,”Houses before horses,”huh? I wonder how many were built,after the racing complex was scrapped,at exorbitant cost,and looting of …..?
    Your calls!
    Long live the Republic of Toba.,ooops ,lo siento,T&T!
    I love this land, Y tu?

  • “As for the 100 new schools constructed, maybe she would list them all so discerning citizens can determine if the PP government increased the schools-stock by 100 percent. Or the 11,000 new businesses established in the past two years (her words, not mine), I ask: really?”

    It is terrible when the minister of education opens 2 secondary schools in one day and 5 early childhood centers in one day. The armchair critics have their doubts. Could it be true or is it that Dr. Goopesingh is a magician.

    On Wednesday August 19 2015 DR Tim Gopeesingh opened two new secondary schools–the Couva West Secondary and Princes Town East Secondary.

    On Friday August 7 2015, Dr Tim Gopeesingh opened FIVE ECCE Centres in the Constituency of Caroni East–

    1. St. Ambrose Anglican Early Childhood Care and Education Centre Jackman, Cunupia

    2.Madras Early Childhood Care and Education Centre Madras GPS, Chin Chin Road, Cunupia

    3.The Raghunanan Government Early Childhood Care and Education Centre
    School Lane, Ragoonanan Road, Enterprise

    4.Ravine Sable Early Childhood Care and Education Centre, Longdenville

    5. The Warrenville TIA Early Childhood Care and Education Centre Southern Main Road, Warrenville, Cunupia

    Also in this album are photos of the La Fillette Primary School Sod Turning and the Ministry of Education’s Emancipation Day function.

  • Yeah Mamboo,this political bandit, is a magician alright,for finding a political lightweight like Kamla ,that he could manipulate in such ugly fashion ,as he did .
    We know of the monkey record you just laid out,but as the ever astute, Uncle Shah,so correctly pointed out ,(and I paraphrase)more than 80 percent, of the PP ,so called/bogus success projects ,were actually ,those that they completed ,and in fact ,had their origins ,on the PNM ,political drawing boards.
    Wish your PP had the foresight however,to build the La Brea smelter plant,to help diversify our stagnant economy,interdependent on oil/gas country ,and help create meaningful jobs.
    Wish they had honored the contract to bring in those 3 OVP ,border patrolling ships,eventually purchased by the more savvy Brazilians .
    That would have probably meant ,less deadly drugs ,or dangerous weapons for T&T,which contributed to the murders of 265 persons .
    There are presently some 125 ,000 plus illegal immigrants in T&T.
    Care to guess ,how many slipped through ,via our porous borders Mamboo?
    Goopiesing is a magician yes ,for ensuring his fat ,Doubles adoring ,cutlass wielding ,bastard -criminal son ,not face charges after his well documented misdeeds in POS,by placing him on a flight to Canada.
    Tell us if you dare ,was dat when they offered that Judgeship post ,to our fast talking DPP,that eventually went to the COP Lucky broad?
    He is a magician yes,for ignoring the evidence ,as presented by Whistleblower ex Principal Sita,who had a sharp barber razor dangling,over the weenie ,of that octogenarian spiritual adviser of Kamla ,in neo racist Sat Maraj,for his blatant acts of discrimination ,against Afro Kinky head primary school kids ,that were attending his State supported ,Hindustani school?
    We can finally guess ,as to why he as an experienced, medically trained doctor, was given the nod for the Education Minister,as opposed to health.
    20 thousand or more government scholarships ,were handed out in 5 years of PP reign .
    19,990 ,given only to members of de tribe ,when equally qualified others ,across the racial gene pool ,were ignored ,thus playing into de mantra of some stupid claim ,that kids from ‘you alze tribe ,’are somehow smarter ,and more dedicated to learning.
    What folly,when many of said success stories either paid for their exams papers ,slept with unscrupulous Professors ,in their quest for high grades,or their parents were pals ,and party hacks, of said regime ,high officials.
    Now the pathetic state of education,is only the tip of the iceberg,when it comes to shady dealing of this government.
    In health,for all the idle boast of new hospital,are there qualified doctors,and nurses to operate them? Is there a fool proof system in place ,to vet the qualifications of foreign workers,brought in to service this industry?
    Where there are language differences ,have they demanded that only doctors ,and nurses who are fluent in English-our national language-are brought in?
    If doctors cannot effectively communicate with their patients,and local nurses ,are treated as 4 th class citizens,how does that impact ,the quality of health care,for those desperate nationals ,unable to hop on a plane,for lofty medical treatments, to exotic places such as Havana ,Miami,London and Bridgetown Barbados ,in similar fashion ,to Basdeo, Manning ,and Kamla?
    On the subject of Security,so hiring a few Old ,ex Tethron Brigadiars ,a middle management bag boy,who almost became Basdeo son in law,and a corrupt Sports business,FIFA executive/tycoon,is the PP idea of an upgrade?
    Did the introduction of a White ,Canadian Police Commissioner,only to fire him in 10 months or less,then have his local successor act for 5 years ,while trying to micromanage his service ,make T&T more safe?
    How about hiring what looks like 300 ,000,simi criminals,as SRPs,many of whom,are family members of party hacks?

    We know how many fake suicides took place across our Prisons,and about the sex leave experiments,for hardened inmates ,or guns for questionable Prison officers ,to take home,to allegedly protect them ,so the million dollar question is this -Did Human Rights at our Prisons improve ,or overall safety,and meaningful reforms,aimed at curtailing recidivism,take place ,once Anan Ramlogan ,ignored Fitzgerald Hinds advice,and hired Kamla’s -eat ah food lawyer -Israel Khan ,clueless son, David?
    Need one go on Mamboo?
    Here is the deal for you ,on the verge on this most important elections.
    Kamla ,and all her fans ,who stupidly still tout ,her professed virtues,can jump high,or low,speak hard ,or soft,about all her so called accomplishments.
    No once cares about how many schools were opened ,bridges ,and box drains constructed,HDC house keys handed out,or useless laptops given to kids ,to spy on their parents,and eventually solicit their votes ,come elections.

    Even the blind could see,this was the worst regime in the history of the Commonwealth.
    Thanks Mr Patterson,for making the case ,for sending Kamla ,and her UNC dominant PP packing ,come September 7th.
    Enough already!

  • Thank God the oil prices are on the way down. Now all the governments that speculate and receive large sums of monies from the wealth of countries they are supposed to provide for will now do a disappearing act. Oil and gas companies who rip off these same countries will now suffer huge losses and fold. And thank God the world will come back to normalcy with Governments will change hands and persons without false papers will continue to serve God through serving the people. It is my wish that that bastard foreign employers who made me suffer will now suffer from their evil deeds.

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